Dragon: While perhaps not quite as spectacular as those ridden by Queen Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, Santa Monica’s own Sea Dragon took to the clear, blue skies on Thursday morning by way of an airlift from a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

Since it opened in May 1996, it has provided more than 12 million rides to both locals and visiting tourists, but it was time to update the ride and so a special send off was planned. In front of a gathered crowd that included Mayor Gleam Davis, together with television news crews, wellwishers and onlookers, the 6,000 pound “car” took off and began its journey that will end in a few weeks’ time in Missouri.

However, before it arrives at its final destination, atop of the City Museum in St Louis, it’s due to make a pit stop at the Port of Hueneme in Ventura County. And you’d be forgiven for wondering why it’s traveling over 1,800 miles, all the way to the Show-Me State, but a look at the museum’s website will disperse any doubt that this is the right home. Exhibits and sculptures include and incorporate jet aircraft, school buses, cranes, castles and even other retired amusement park rides.

“We did a pretty exhaustive search, trying to figure out where to send it for the final resting destination,” Nathan Smithson, Director of Marketing at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier said. “And for those who have not seen what the City Museum is, words really can’t describe it. It’s a super-unique, artistic, family entertainment destination. You know, it’s not a museum, it’s not at an amusement park, it’s such a unique place. And so when we found that, we’re just like, ‘this is where it has to go.’”

Photographs: Lisa Matthews

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Scott Snowden

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.